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VETERAN CHUSOVITINA DREAMING OF RIO AT WORLD GYMNASTICS CHAMPS

Friday 23 October 2015

Six-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina got her 2015 World Championships campaign off to a strong start in the opening session of the first competition day at The SSE Hydro.

The 40-year-old from Uzbekistan, who marked her World Championship debut for the USSR in 1991 with gold medals in the Team and Floor contests, is dreaming of earning her passage to Rio in 2016.

An impressive performance in the vault could see her through as one of the top eight to compete in the Apparatus Final on Saturday 31st October.

Following day one, which also included performances from women’s medal contenders Japan, Russia, Romania and, of course, Great Britain, athletes will face an agonising 24-hour wait to learn the fate of their endeavours with the conclusion of women’s qualifying on Saturday evening.

Both the USA and China, 2014’s+ Team champions and runners-up, are set to feature in a star-studded second day, requiring those with hopes of a medal to be at their very best today.

Despite the result, Chusovitina is already one of the stories of the Championships. In a sport famously dominated by youthful athleticism - as exemplified by current and multiple-time All-Around World Champions Simone Biles (18) and Kohei Uchimura, himself a veteran at 26 - Chusovitina stands in stark contrast.

Although retirement has long been suggested, age remains but a number to the 11-time World titlist, and like each of the 594 gymnasts who’ve made the journey to Scotland, the goal remains taking a telling step on the road to Rio.

Following her qualification bid, Chusovitina said: “Everything went well today. I am very happy, very positive and glad I didn’t get injured. I did make a mistake on the Uneven Bars but I am not worried about it.”

Asked about the possibility of retirement and her decision to postpone this decision in previous years, she added: “You know us women, we say one thing and then we change our minds all the time. I feel good. I feel confident and I will continue competing. I realise I am an inspiration to other women and I am very thankful for the support.

“I’m not trying to guess how long I will continue competing now. I could be next year or in 10 years. My goal right now is the Olympics.” 

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